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Public Administration News  
Info Commissioners Approve Resolution on Transparency
Source: freedominfo
Source Date: Wednesday, October 05, 2011
Focus: Institution and HR Management
Created: Oct 11, 2011

Information commissioners from around the world Oct. 5 approved a resolution supporting expansion of right to information laws and supportive of the Open Government Declaration issued Sept. 20 in connection with launch of the Open Government Partnership.

The commissioners, however, dropped a proposed line urging countries to join the Open Government Partnership. The explicit endorsement of membership was sensitive to some of the information commissioners, according to persons familiar with the development of the resolution.

The 22 commissioners or ombudsmen who signed the resolution were attending the 7th International Conference of Information Commissioners in Ottawa, Canada. About 65 commissioners and ombudsmen were invited to the meeting.

The five-paragraph resolution was proposed by the German, Berlin and Slovenian commissioners. It is the first time the information commissioners have considered issuing a resolution, as do the international privacy commissioners. The commissioners also will be considering ways to establish a more robust internal communications system.

The proposal begins: “Transparency is an essential and indispensible condition for a living democracy.”

It goes on to describe the value of transparency before stating in the final two paragraphs:

The International Conference of Information Commissioners is in favour of enshrining the right of information in national laws and of further developing existing rights of access to information. All states should above all have strong freedom of information laws which really and truly enable citizens to exercise the right to know. An effective appeal mechanism and its enforcement is of significant importance. The states and the international organizations should provide more information than before about their activities. The technical means are available for achieving this!

The Conference encourages states and international agencies to make greater use of the Internet for this purpose and to make information available in a proactive, structured and user-friendly way (Open Data). The conference supports the Open Government Declaration published in September 2011 in New York.

The dropped final line stated: “All states that have not yet done so should accede to the Open Government Partnership.”

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